Can I Sue Uber or Lyft for Injuries After an Accident?
Uber and Lyft drivers are not immune from being involved in or causing car accidents. In fact, thousands of Uber and Lyft drivers and passengers are involved in car crashes every year.
The question is, if you’re injured in an accident involving Uber or Lyft, how can you recover full and fair compensation?
Collecting compensation for injuries sustained in accidents involving ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft can be extremely difficult, as a number of different insurance policies come into play, including the driver’s policy, the policies held by any other drivers involved, and the ridesharing company’s liability policy.
Determining which of these policies will apply in your own accident depends on a series of factors, including whether the driver was officially on-duty or carrying passengers, and who caused the accident, so if you were injured in an accident that involved an Uber, it is critical to speak with an experienced Uber accident attorney who can explain your legal options and help you file a claim against the responsible party.
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How Does Uber’s Insurance Work?
Last year, the Texas Legislature passed a new law, which required both Lyft and Uber drivers to obtain more liability insurance. According to the terms of the statute, Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) like Uber must ensure that their drivers have additional insurance coverage when their ride hailing app is engaged. This is true even when there are no passengers in the car.
Most Texas drivers are required to have at least $30,000 of liability insurance per person injured in an accident, $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage per accident. Uber drivers, on the other hand, are now required to have even more coverage. For instance, when their app is on, Uber drivers must have at least $50,000 in liability insurance per person, $100,000 per accident, and $25,000 in property damage coverage.
If they are transporting a passenger then coverage is increased to $1 million. Prior to the passage of the new law, Uber already provided their drivers with commercial liability insurance up to $1 million. However, these policies did not cover drivers and injured victims when there were no passengers in the vehicle, a problem that Texas law now addresses.
How do I Report an Uber Accident?
According to Uber, passengers who are injured in an accident should take the following steps:
- Check that all parties who were involved in the collision do not require emergency medical assistance;
- Notify law enforcement officers or paramedics if necessary; and
- Contact Uber.
Accident victims are urged to go to “Trip and Fare Review” on the app and note that they were involved in an accident, after which they should explain what happened. An Uber team member will then gather the information that is necessary to move forward in the claims process. Injured parties can also call Uber’s emergency hotline for immediate assistance and direction.
Can I Sue Uber for an Accident if I was the Driver?
Uber drivers are covered by a $1 million liability insurance policy when they are transporting passengers. However if an Uber driver is involved in an accident that he or she did not cause, it will be necessary to first make a claim under the at-fault party’s policy. Once this policy has been exceeded, Uber’s policy will kick in to cover the remaining amount of damages.
If, on the other hand, the Uber driver was at fault, Uber’s liability insurance will automatically apply, but only if the driver was transporting passengers at the time of the crash. If the driver’s app was on, but he or she had no passengers, the driver’s own insurer will need to cover the damage, although once the damages amount exceeds a driver’s personal limits, Uber’s policy will cover the remaining amount.
If damages exceed Uber’s liability coverage, the injured driver could file a claim against the at-fault driver or Uber itself, although the latter course of action is notoriously difficult.
Can I Sue Uber for an Accident if I was the Passenger?
Since early last year, both Uber and its drivers have been required to carry a certain amount of liability insurance. When a driver’s insurance policy is not enough to cover the damage caused by an accident and Uber refuses to pay the additional compensation, injured passengers may be required to file a lawsuit against the company in court, where they may be able to collect damages for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Unfortunately, filing a claim against these types of large-scale companies is extremely difficult, so if you were injured in an accident while you were a passenger in an Uber car, you should consider speaking with an experienced Uber accident attorney who can help protect your interests.
Can I Sue Uber if the Uber Driver was At Fault?
Passengers who are injured in accidents caused by their Uber drivers are theoretically covered up to $1 million. This is true even if the other driver caused the crash. However, even if the Uber driver was negligent or reckless, the company cannot be sued for damages that exceed $1 million. This is because Uber classifies its drivers as independent contractors, or third party service providers, and not employees.
Instead, the injured party could sue the driver, however, it is unlikely that he or she will be in a position to pay the required amount of damages, so it may be in the injured party’s best interests to file a claim against the driver’s insurer.
Can I Sue Uber if the Other Driver was At Fault?
Those who are involved in an accident with an Uber when the other driver was the cause of the accident should first seek compensation from the at-fault party’s insurer. In the event that that individual is not insured, Uber’s uninsured/underinsured motorist policy will kick in up to $1 million, but only if the injured party was a passenger at the time of the accident. If Uber’s policy limits have been exceeded, the injured party may want to consider filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in court, where he or she could collect additional damages.
Unfortunately, many drivers cannot provide compensation above their own insurance policies, which could leave injured parties with unpaid medical bills. If the Uber driver did not contribute to the accident and the company paid the limits of its liability policy, the injured party will most likely be unable to file a claim against Uber for compensation above and beyond this amount.
Can I Sue Uber if I was in Another Car That was Hit by an Uber?
Uber’s liability insurance policies will help provide coverage for any injuries caused by their drivers as long as the driver’s app was on or he or she was transporting a passenger. Unfortunately, Uber claims that its drivers are not employees, but are independent contractors, which means that they cannot be held liable for their negligence or recklessness. This means that the only remedy available to those who were injured in an accident involving an Uber driver is usually the company’s liability policy, although this is not always true.
For example, an Uber driver whose app was not engaged and who was not transporting any passengers would not be covered by the company’s policy. Instead, he or she would be required to pay for the injured party’s damages out of his or her own liability insurance policy. If the limits of that policy are exceeded, the injured party could file a lawsuit against the driver in court to collect additional damages.
If, on the other hand, the driver’s app was on, Uber’s liability insurance policy could be applied as soon as the driver’s policy limits were exceeded. If the driver was transporting a passenger, however, Uber’s much larger liability policy could be accessed by the injured party immediately. If damages were higher than the policy’s limits, the injured party could then attempt to file suit against Uber in court.
Unfortunately, these claims are not usually successful and are often time-consuming and expensive. Injured parties may be better off trying to collect compensation from their own insurance policy and the policies of anyone else who was involved in the accident.
Can I Sue Uber if I was Hit on my Bicycle or While Walking?
Injured parties who were not a passenger in the Uber, but were injured by its driver are covered by the company’s liability insurance as long as the driver’s app was on. In these cases, the driver’s personal insurance will apply and if the injured party’s damages exceed the amount, Uber’s liability policy will cover the remainder.
However, if the Uber driver was not on duty, the injured party will be unable to collect compensation from Uber’s policy. In these cases, the injured party may want to consider filing a lawsuit against the driver in court.
What Damages May I Recover in an Uber Accident Lawsuit?
The amount of compensation that accident victims who successfully file a claim against Uber can collect depends on a series of factors, including:
- The severity and extent of the injuries sustained in the accident;
- The amount of medical bills incurred and an estimation of the amount of future medical costs that the injured party will need to pay;
- How much property damage was sustained;
- Whether the injured party was unable to work as a result of the injury; and
- Whether the at-fault driver’s actions were intentional.
After assessing these factors, courts and juries may decide to award compensation for the following expenses:
- Past and future medical bills;
- Vehicle repair or replacement, in addition to other property damage;
- Lost wages if the injured party was unable to work for a period of time;
- Loss of future earning capacity if the injuries were so severe as to cause a disability; and
- Pain and suffering endured as a result of the accident.
Although collecting compensation may not be able to completely return a person to his or her pre-accident state of health, it can go a long way towards helping injured parties begin the long process of recovery.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer to Sue Uber?
Although Uber does provide liability insurance to cover injuries sustained by its passengers and drivers, it can be difficult to access these policies. This is largely due to the fact that insurers are generally eager to settle quickly and for as little an amount as possible. Unfortunately, many injured parties who are eager to begin paying medical bills are often convinced to accept a lower settlement than they actually deserve.
Insurers may also attempt to reduce or eliminate a claim’s value by suggesting that the injured party was somehow at fault. This is why having the advice and guidance of an experienced Uber accident attorney is often crucial to a claimant’s success. Uber accident attorneys who are experienced in handling these types of claims and who have access to the resources necessary to successfully advocate on an injured party’s behalf can ensure that victims receive maximum compensation for their injuries by dealing directly with the insurers involved.
Call Today to Speak With an Experienced Uber Accident Attorney
Although most people do not expect to be involved in an accident while utilizing the services of Uber or another ridesharing company, the reality is that thousands of these kinds of accidents occur every year. Collecting compensation for injuries sustained in Uber accidents tends to be difficult, as a number of different parties and insurers are almost always involved, so having the advice of an attorney can be critical to an injured party’s ability to collect compensation for medical bills and property damage.
To learn more about filing a claim against Uber or one of its drivers, please contact Sutliff & Stout by calling or texting 281-853-8446 and one of our dedicated team members will help you schedule a free consultation with an experienced and compassionate Houston car accident attorney. We are standing by and eager to help you through every step of your case.